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Full text of "Groundcover News Vol. 3 no. 6 June 2012"

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OPINION 



Tax relief reduced for the poor 




by Susan Beckett 
Publisher 



This time of year, low income families 
have a little breathing room thanks to 
their recently- received tax refunds. 
They can buy shoes for the family, pay 
off loans they have taken out to make 
rent or car repairs, or perhaps make a 
down payment on a car or better apart- 
ment. Some can even put a bit aside for 
the inevitable rainy day. 

Next year those families will not be 
so fortunate. These tax refunds come 
largely courtesy of the Earned Income 
Tax Credits (EITC), one from the 
federal government and one from the 
state of Michigan. The Michigan EITC 
has been reduced significantly starting 
this year. 

Recipients of the EITC will pay an 
average $307 more in taxes as a re- 



GROUNDCOVER N EWS 
MISSION: 

Groundcover News 
exists to create opportunity 
and a voice for low-income 
people while taking action 
to end homelessness and 
poverty. 

^}usan {jjeclcett, publisher 
contact@groundcovernews.com 

Lee Alexander, ] ditar 
c.lee@groundcovernews.com 

Andrew N'^on, 
Associate fL-ditor 

Contributors 

Martha Brunell 

Ben Colman 
Anthony Hinkeiman 
Gregory Hoffman 
Laurie Lounsbury 
Robert Salo 
Martin Sto!zenberg 
James Varani 
Clayton Williams 



editor@groundcovernews.com 

5tom or jnoto Submissions: 
submissions@groundcovernews.com 

Advertising 
contact@groundcovernews.com 



suit of the state reductions, according 
to a report released Monday by the 
Michigan League for Human Services. 
The League noted that those credits 
kept 14,000 children from falling into 
poverty. 

"Thats money that would otherwise 
have gone to small businesses across the 
state that serve the needs of working 
families, particularly in rural Michigan 
communities and inner cities," said . 
Gilda Jacobs, president and CEO of the 
league. 

Beginning this year, the size of the 
EITC that Michigan residents can claim 
on their state income taxes dropped 
from 20 percent of their federal EITC 
to 6 percent. For the 2nd District in 
Detroit, the average recipient will pay 



$420 more in taxes, reducing the aver- 
age received to only $180. 

Reducing the EITC is only the latest of 
the many hits taken by the poor this 
year. Many abruptly lost cash assistance 
because they had already received four 
years of cash benefits, of any amount, at 
any time during their adulthood. More 
lost their SNAP benefits (food stamps) 
because they had received them for "too 
many" consecutive years. 

People s needs don't vanish; they are 
met in different ways. Many will turn to 
private assistance such as food pantries, 
which are already seeing record num- 
bers of patrons. With the elimination of 
the Michigan tax credit, which included 
donations to food pantries, they will be 
hard-pressed to meet additional need. 



Some people get desperate and end up 
in jail, whether for 'theft or for disor- 
derly conduct when they use alcohol 
or drugs to escape the daily defeats and 
pain -at the loss of their cars, homes or 
families. 

At Groundcover, we believe the dignity 
of working to support oneself is crucial 
for a healthy life. In today s economy, 
jobs are scarce and too many do not 
pay a living wage. Many employers only 
offer part-time employment to avoid 
paying benefits. We all reap the rewards 
of this system in lower prices for our 
fast food and goods purchased at chain 
stores. The EITC is a mechanism for 
returning some of that largesse to the 
people from whom it was taken and 
making work pay for them. Shame on 
us for taking that away, too. 



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Better values for self 
and community 

Dear Editor, 

The social values recently bwrought 
into vogue by Ronald Reagan and his 
latter-day cldhes have been a disastrous 
detour from the communitarian tra- 
ditional values America was founded 
upon. 

These new "industrial" values celebrate 
personal achievement and wealth. The 
older values of empathy, cooperation 
and mutual concern are either mocked 
or ignored. How much crumbling 
infrastructure will be 'needed to bal- 
ance our state budget? How many local 
people will be hungry, sick or homeless 
because of "conservative" revenue pri- 
orities? This type of systemic inequal- 
ity must be redressed soon to assure a 
better future for us all! 

Sincerely, 
Paul Lambert 







www.ero 



3cGvernews.com 



/\ve, /\nn /\roc 



June 2 - African American Downtown Festival. 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Crafts, merchan 
dise, food; musical, theatrical, and dance performances and kids' activities. N. 

Fourth Ave. d.ud %m St ; ^'A '■■""■ " v' ■ " " '. . * ' / 

June 3 - Taste of Ann Arbor. 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Live music and kids activities. 
Tastes of local food and drink offerings in exchange for tickets purchased on site. 
Main St. in Ann Arbor between William and Washington. 

June 8 - Green Festival. 6-9 p.m. Main St, downtown Ann Arb 

June 10 - Grillin': Food Gatherers annual 

enaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor Sa 

5 60;at iiiedo j (Sec • ip. 12|rf , ■ 

June 10-15 - Restaurant Week. Downtown Ann Arbor restaurants offer fi> 
price luhthes and' dinners.- 

June 15 - Ann Arbor Summer Festival: Top of the Park kick-off. 5 

night. Live music and food. Ingalls Mall between Washington and N. 
Ann Arbor, :/; :"" : ' ; ; * iv ** '■-;;/ : ■ : v .;: ? '■ /r;- ; 

June 15 - Summer Music Series in Downtown Dexter. 6.30-9:30 p.m. Dexter 
Community Orchestra starts off this series of varied Friday night music offerings. 

June 21 - RAAH Annual Meeting. Congregations' efforts to address the ne 
affordable housing in Washtenaw County. Refreshments 6:30 p.m., program 7-8 
p.m. 2240 E. Stadium in Ann Arbor. (See ad on p. 10) 





rnews .com 



RELIGION 



What's in a word? 




by Rev. Dr. Martha 

Rrunell 

Pastor, Bethlehem 

United Church of 

Christ 



I love words. The daughter of two 
teaching parents, I was surrounded 
with words and books as a child in the 
1950s and 1960s. Words with more 
than one meaning or words that can 
be both a noun and a verb are special 
treasures. Even the shortest word can 
carry considerable weight in the right 
circumstance. A few words have a 
vigorous attachment for me to someone 
or something in particular. Whenever 
I hear those words or read them on the 
page or screen, a person, time, or event 
comes alive again. 

At the moment, in my writing and in 
my spiritual practice, the word that 
won't let me go is vessel I am listening 
to three meanings of this multi-layered 
word. First of all, vessel can refer to a 
container. That sort of vessel might be 



a cup or a bowl, or perhaps a kettle, 
bottle, or pitcher. Some vessels have one 
open side; others are capped or covered 
on that side. Such a vessel holds and 
protects what lies inside it. It puts limits 
on its contents. Over time, it is both 
filled up and emptied out. Our everyday 
lives are filled with this sort of vessel. 
Look around; you will see them. 

Secondly, a vessel can be a tube or 
canal. Think of blood vessels, those 
arteries and veins pulsing with the 
movement of the fluid that keeps us 
alive. Similarly, a vascular plant has 
such tubes in its structure. No matter 
the temperature, it is always spring for 
me when the sap begins to flow again 
from the ground up through vessels in 
the sugar maples, promising a sweet 
out-of-season harvest when snow is still 
retreating. Those vessels both contain 
and make movement and flow possible. 
Unlike the first sort of vessel, they are 
alive with what they hold. 

And finally, a vessel can be a boat. 
The dictionary tells us these vessels 
technically include any watercraft 



bigger than a rowboat. I am not sure 
why rowboats, kayaks, canoes, and 
the like are excluded from this vessel 
category. Vessels of the third type 
resemble the first and second in that 
they contain, hold, keeps safe, and 
pour out their contents. They echo 
second vessels in the push and pull of 
movement within. But these third ones 
move beyond the set course of vessels 
inside a human or plant body. They are 
free to travel the width and breadth of 
any body of water where they are. 

The layers of meaning in the word 
vessel build upon and expand out 
from each another. To stretch the word 
vessel metaphorically, I would say that 
Groundcover News is a vessel too. 
In the embrace of this paper, all our 
different lives, in some way, are held, 
contained, kept safe, and poured out. 
The paper provides the boundary of a 
structure in which we create together. 
As different sorts of people arrive 
and find a place in the Groundcover 
community, there is an ongoing flow 
of movement among us. Not unlike 
the arteries and veins in our bodies, 



Groundcover News pulsates with our 
voices, our vision, our varied opinions, 
and our commitment to a different 
future. Groundcover might have begun 
its life as a rowboat not really in the 
vessel classification. Now it is surely a 
schooner of some size, always headed 
in the direction of a new horizon. 
There are horizons in our writing, 
horizons of fresh connection, horizons 
of lives transformed, and horizons of 
shifts in how we engage in common 
life in this county and across the state. 
The waters that Groundcover News is 
already crossing and those out there 
waiting are wide, indeed. All this we 
know when we pause to consider the 
continual growth in contributions, 
distribution, and readership. 

Once more - I love words. Vessel 
happens to be my new word for 
Groundcover News. What is yours? 




Bethlehem United Church of Christ 

423 5. Fourth Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 

(between William and Packard) 

www.bethlehem-ucc.org (734) 665-6149 

Bethlehem Church is home for the Groundcover Office 

Sundays: 

8:30 am and 10:00 am ~ Worship 

10:00 am ~ Church School 

We have a group of adults and youth going to 

Benton Harbor, Mi from June 24 thru 30 

to work with Habitat for Humanity. 

Please keep them in your prayers, 
an invitation to grow in spirit and serve with joy 



MIGHTY GOOD 



COFFEE ROASTING C9 
ANN ARBOR MICHIGAN 



Freshly roasted coffees, hand crafted 
espresso drinks and coffee education. 

Cafe and Roastery 
217 N. Main St., Ann Arbor, Ml 



734-222-4514 



www.mightygoodcoffee.com 



www. groundcovernews.com 



ON MY CORNER 



Roberts difficult journey to Groundcover 



Editors note: Robert was one of the 
first Groundcover vendors. Last year 
he shared his passion for art with our 
readers. Now he shares his personal 
story. 

Hi! I am Robert, Groundcover vendor 
number 17. 1 was born in Highland 
Park at the end of 1955 and grew 
up in Farmington Hills, where I 
graduated from high school in 1974. 

I went to Mott Community College 
in Flint and was living with my elder 
brother. I worked for the Flint Journal 
in distribution, but my car broke 
down, so I went back to my parents' 
home. I started working for the 
Observer and Eccentric News. 

In 1976, 1 was in a car accident and 
suffered a closed-head injury and was 
sent to Botsford Hospital. I nearly 
died on the gurney but they were able 
to stop the bleeding. 

After the accident, my parents told 
me repeatedly, "We are not going to 
be here much longer. You are going to 
have to make it on your own." 

Though I knew I had to break my 
dependence on my parents, I was 
upset and angry. One day, my mother 
said, "Bob, the only way to get you the 
help you need is to send you to the 
state hospital." 

My anger exploded and I threw 
my glass of water in her face and 
threatened to hurt her if she ever 
tried to send me to a state hospital. 
Nevertheless, I was sent to the 
Clinton Valley Center at Pontiac 




Robert Salo shows off a piece of his hand-crafted jewelry. 



State Hospital in 1977. 1 never told the 
doctors at Clinton Valley about the car 
accident. 

I was elected president on each of my 
wards, some open and some closed. I 
was the longest-term president in the 
history of the Clinton Valley Center. 

Patients were sometimes put in two- 
point restraints that you can walk in. 
They used four-point restraints in 
seclusion. Condemned patients were 
sent to isolation, a bullet-proof glass 
room with an entrance to underground 
catacombs. A patient sent to quarantine 
was never seen again. 

When I was in a closed ward, a patient 
was being escorted down the corridor, 
surrounded by orderlies. I could hear 



the chains dragging on the marble floor. 
They took him to seclusion, where he 
was strapped onto a bed in four-point 
restraints. 

My friend came to my room at 4 in the 
morning and reported that the man 
had been given an injection and died 
in the restraints. My friend stole keys 
from an orderly that night and drove 
an ambulance to Ohio so he could leave 
and be with his grandmother. 

I was moved to the Phoenix Center 
high-rise, an apartment program 
where my friend from the military shot 
his brains out with a 30-30. Another 
friend hanged himself after losing 
his apartment in a nearby state-run 
house. I was booted out for having a 
keg party. Afterwards, a girl who was a 



friend of a friend jumped to her death, 
and still another was found dead on 
the sidewalk of her Phoenix Center 
apartment. The newspapers reported 
there was no wrongdoing. The people 
running the programs at the Phoenix 
knew that both of them were on 
medication. The management scurried 
out of there quick as could be. 

I moved to Washtenaw County four 
years ago and ended up homeless. 
While living at the Delonis Center, I 
took a Greyhound to Detroit to see the 
Red Wings Stanley Cup Parade. I've 
never been to a Red Wings game but 
I've made it a point to be at all of their 
parades. Channel 4 covered the parade 
and all my friends at the shelter got to 
see me on television. For the first time, 
I got an autograph, too. Later, when I 
was living on the street, I was robbed 
and left hungry. Chris at the local pub 
exchanged the autograph for a burger. 

An elderly friend from the shelter came 
with me to the parade. On the bus 
ride, she told me that her daughter was 
involved with a person using drugs and 
they took over her house, leaving her 
homeless. I heard that she passed away 
while living at the shelter. 

Now I work with Groundcover. Tve 
got three years' sobriety since living 
in Washtenaw County. Selling the 
newspaper, I say, "Share your views. Get 
the Groundcover News!" 

I take each day as though it is a gift. 
Today is the gift - that is why we call it 
"the present"! 

See below for my latest venture! 



Cottage food industry regulations 



by Robert Salo 

I have been interested in starting my 
own business for some time, though I 
thought it would be selling my three- 
dimensional artwork. Through J-PORT 
(the Justice Project Outreach Team), 
I learned of a class at Washtenaw 
Community College that explained 
the new food laws and thought I 
would check it out and possibly start 
a smoothie business with the earning 
potential of $75,000 per year. Heres 
what I learned. 

The Cottage Food Law of Michigan 
took effect in July of 2010, and it 
provides the opportunity for a person 
to sell food products made in their 
single-family, primary domestic 
residence, provided that they can be 
made safely. Potentially hazardous 



foods are listed in the food code and 
restricted to commercial kitchen 
preparation. 

Regulations limit products to those 
that do not need to be temperature 
controlled, contain under 85 percent 
water, and have a pH below 4.6 or above 
7.5. Meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, 
tofu, cooked vegetables, untreated garlic 
and oil mixtures, all beverages, and 
some plants such as raw sprouts do not 
qualify under these regulations. 

Bread and muffins, jam and jelly, 
dehydrated vegetables, coffee, hard 
candies, dehydrated soup mixes and 
spices are examples of acceptable food 
products that qualify under the Cottage 
Food Law. These products must be sold 
directly to the consumer, face-to-face. 



The Cottage Food Law was enacted 
because it allows a person like me to 
start out producing products from my 
own unlicensed, domestic kitchen. If 
I follow the guidelines, I do not have 
to worry about food poisoning or 
botulism and I can earn a comfortable 
living in todays tough economy, though 
I am limited to a maximum of $15,000 
in annual earnings as a cottage industry. 

Since beverages are excluded by the 
Cottage Food Law, I will have to follow 
other regulations for my smoothie 
business. I will make and sell them 
at the Farmer s Market, using fruits 
and vegetables purchased fresh at the 
market. 



Wanted! 
Quality Camera Gear 

DSLR camera and/or Nikon 

lenses 

Tax-deductible 
donation and a better 
looking Groundcover! 



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lliliilil 

Kill 



|j« 




MAKING CHANGE 



St. Francis pledges financial support for supportive housing 



by James Varani 

Member, St. Francis Peace & Justice 

Committee 

What can I, as an individual, do to help 
homeless people in our area? What can 
we, as a congregation, do to help end 
homelessness in the area? 

These questions led about 80 people 
to attend a gathering at St. Francis 
of Assisi parish in Ann Arbor one 
evening in April. Speakers represented 
five organizations: The Delonis 
Center, Avalon Housing, Camp Take 
Notice, the VA Homeless Program, 
and the Washtenaw Housing Alliance. 
They described their organizations 
role in the community response to 
homelessness. Most importantly, 
the speakers provided information 
on what volunteers could do to help 
their organizations. Each of these 
organizations works with different 
segments of the homeless population; 
each has different volunteer needs. 
The event was sponsored by the Peace 
and Justice Committee at St. Francis 
of Assisi. Many in attendance were 
from St. Francis parish, but multiple 
different area congregations were 
represented, a&well as groups such 
as Interfaith'Council for Peace and 
Justice and the Washtenaw County 
Sheriff s Department. The art work 
of local artists Susan Clinthorne and 
Sally Theisen was displayed. The pieces 
were part of their "Letters Home' 
exhibit, which is focused on "giving the 
homeless a voice." 

The five speakers provided a 
framework for the evening's program, 
but some of the most interesting 
discussion occurred during the 
question and answer period that 
followed. Individuals who live at Camp 
Take Notice and Avalon Housing 
commented on how those respective 
organizations have helped them. 

At one point in the discussion, the 
issue of congregations committing to 
the support of one or more affordable 
housing units was raised. Fr. Jim 
McDougal, pastor. of St. Francis parish, 
who was in the audience, stated 
that St. Francis would make such a 
commitment. This brought a round 
of applause from both the speakers 
and the audience. It was noted that 
St. Francis, which already participates 
in multiple programs to help 
homeless individuals and other needy 
community members, is considered 
to be a model congregation. Catholic 
Social Teaching is alive at St. Francis. 

Those in the audience gained a better 
appreciation for what some community 






groups do in 

the fight against 

homelessness. 

Individuals left 

with handouts 

detailing specific 

volunteer 

opportunities 

with the 

represented 

groups. It was 

also noted 

that the group 

Religious Action 

for Affordable 

Housing Lotus Yu (above) from Camp Take Notice and Julie Steiner from the 

(RAAH) will 

hold its annual 





• 



%r 



Washtenaw Housing Alliance help educate about homelessness. 



meeting in 

the very same location on June 21st, 
from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. This will be an 
open meeting and anyone wishing to 
participate is welcome to attend. St. 
Francis has been a long-time supporter 
o(this faith-based effort to bring more 
affordable housing to Washtenaw 
County. ^ 



There are homeless 

veterans in every county, 

but in many places, such 

individuals tend to be 

:. ••11 r> 

invisible. 



«• 



Attendees 

learned 

about the 

work of the 

Delonis 

Center 

(named 

after former 

St. Francis 

parishioner, 

Bob 

Delonis), 

a shelter in downtown Ann Arbor. 

It has multiple programs for single 

adults without permanent housing. 

In addition to providing a place to 

sleep, the Delonis Center provides job 

counseling and help with substance 

abuse and medical/mental illness issues. 

Last year, over 1,000 individuals were 

helped in both the residential and day 

programs. Ellen Schulmeister, Executive 

Director of the Delonis Center, in her 

speech told those in attendance that 

Delonis has a variety of opportunities 

for volunteers. Regardless, however, 

of what else a volunteer may do at the 

Delonis Center, simply being present 

so that a client has someone to talk to 

is about the most important thing a 

volunteer can provide. 

Avalon Housing is quite different from 
the Delonis Center. The non-profit 
housing corporation owns and manages 
housing for low- income individuals. 
Next to the city of Ann Arbor itself, 
Avalon Housing is the largest provider 
of low- income housing in the area. 
Over 200 units scattered throughout the 
Ann Arbor - Ypsilanti area are managed 



by Avalon. Like the Delonis Center, 
Avalon Housing provides support 
for to its clients. One of the evenings 
speakers, Carole McCabe, noted that 
when an individual in Avalon Housing 
has some sort of difficulty, the goal is 
to work with that person so that she or 
he can remain housed - very different 
from the for-profit realty market. There 
are numerous volunteer opportunities 
with Avalon 
Housing. In 
addition to office 
and clerical 
jobs, volunteers 
can help with 
gardening 
projects, tenant 
transportation, 
property 
maintenance, 
mentoring and 
youth summer programs. Individuals 
with legal and professional skills are 
also always needed. 

Camp Take Notice is a tent camp 
located just west of Ann Arbor. The 
camp provides a place to reside for 
individuals who might otherwise be 
"sleeping under a bridge." The camp is 
run by campers themselves who make 
and enforce the rules. Community 
involvement in the camp is headed 
by a group referred to as MISSION 
(Michigan Itinerant Shelter System - 
Interdependent Out of Necessity). The 
two individuals who spoke on behalf 
of MISSION and Camp Take Notice 
indicated that tents, blankets, propane 
and city bus tokens were always in 
need. Prepared meals - especially for 
Sunday evenings - were also welcome. 
With the truncated Sunday evening 
bus schedule, it can be hard for people 
living in Camp Take Notice to stay 
downtown long enough for dinner. 
Advocacy is also important. Legislation 
at the state level to make homeless 
.gatherings such as Camp Take Notice 




illegal has been discussed. Camp Take 
Notice has already moved twice in 
the past few years, looking for a stable 
place. Where campers would go if the 
camp closed permanently was not 
addressed at the meeting. 

Following this, Shawn Dowling spoke 
on behalf of the VA Homeless Project. 
As is clear from the name, this is a 
Veterans Administration program^ 
to help homeless vets. The program 
tries to reach veterans throughout the 
entire state and northern Ohio. There 
are homeless veterans in every county, 
but in many places, such individuals 
tend to be "invisible." How does 
the VA Homeless Project help vets? 
Shawn looked at the other speakers 
and said that they worked with all of 
the organizations already discussed. 
Additionally, Shawn emphasized 
how the VA is going to the veterans, 
thus proving itself more available in 
addressing needs versus the old way of 
expecting veterans to get to them. 

The evening s last formal speaker 
was Julie Steiner, representing the* 
Washtenaw Housing Alliance. This is 
an umbrella organization that works 
to coordinate the efforts of 27 county 
groups that work to provide housing 
for those who are homeless or at risk of 
becoming homeless. Providing a single 
telephone number, 734-961-1999, that 
can connect at-risk individuals to all of 
the services provided by the different 
organizations, and streamlining 
the grant application process for 
organizations seeking support for their 
activities, are two of the ways in which 
the Washtenaw Housing Alliance works 
to combat homelessness in the area. 



www. ground cover news . co 






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VENDOR VOICES 



that fights hunger wh«r$ we Uve 




Tickets: $50/Adults 

($10 is goods and services) 

, $10/Kids ages 3-13 

($3 is goods and services) 

Tickets at the door: 

$60Adults/$10Kids 

Purchase tickets online visit our 
website at foodgatherers.org or 
call us at 734.761 .2796. 



Sunday, Jum 1 0r 3-8 PM 

(rain or shine) 

Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds 

5055 Ann Arbor Saline Road 



food/ygatherepe 



fighting hunger where we live 





^ aarden of Lo^ 



ONE DAY THE CLOUDS MADE A THUNDERING 

SOUND, HE PLANTED THE SEED 

IN HIS PRECIOUS GROUND, 

KINDNESS AND HAPPINESS GREW CLOSE 

TOGETHER/THE GARDEN OF LOVE WILL BE 

HERE FOREVER, THE RAINS FELL FROM UP 

ABOVE AND OUT OF THE GROUND GREW 

THE TREE OF LOVE,GOODNESS WAS THE 

FRUIT THAT MADE LIFE, THE SEED 

OF RIGHTEOUSNESS GREW AND GREW 

LOVE WAS ALL AROUND, BEAUTY ALWAYS 

COULD BE FOUND, THE GARDEN OF LOVE 

IS SO DIVINE IT COULD BE FRUITFUL UNTIL 

THE END OF TIME, HE BLESSED HIS FERTILE 

SOIL HE ENRICHED THE GRASS, WHEN THE 

SEED OF HONESTY WAS PLANTED IT WAS 

INTENDED TO LAST, HATRED WAS EMBEDDED 

DEEP IN THE ROOT, IT WAS FORBIDDEN TO 

BRING FORTH FRUIT, HIS SPIRIT OF GRACE 

GLORIFIED EACH DAY, HE ENLIGHTENED 

THE SHADE OF DARKNESS IN HIS OWN 

MYSTERIOUS WAY, THE SUNLIGHT IS SHINING 

FROM UP ABOVE AND ON THIS EARTH IS THE 

GARDEN OF LOVE. 

by Clayton Williams 



foodgatherers.org 




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First & Third Saturday of Every Month! 

Discover something great at the 
Kiwanis Furniture Warehouse Sale! 
Great valuer exciting new 
merchandise - and every purchase 
helps charities in our community! 

li&m shmn ore ttymematm tiftypkot safe item% not mud inventory. 



1st & 3rd Sat. 9am- 12pm • 840 Airport Plaza Blvd 
www.kiwanissale.com 



Kiwanis 

Thrift gale 




$1 off any purchase at the wa 

thrift store 







%ft£& 






COMMUNITY 



Trucks draw families to school readiness fair 




I by Laurie Lounsbury 



Groundcover 
Contributor 



It had the makings of a Dr. Seuss book: 
dump trucks, fire trucks, garbage 
trucks, too; cop cars, back hoes and a 
school bus or two. 

It was the fourth annual Touch a Truck 
Day, sponsored by the Washtenaw 
County Success by 6 Great Start 
Collaborative. Over 4,000 people - 
including more than 1,500 children 
- attended the event designed to raise 
awareness about preschool programs 
available in Washtenaw County. 

"We want people to know what services 
are available so that their kids are ready 
for success when they start school," said 
Margy Long, Director of Success by 6. 

Over 25 vehicles were parked at 
Briarwood Mall, available for kids to 
climb on and explore. While school 
buses might be boring to older kids 
who ride them every day, the pre- 
school children were enamored with 
them. 

"It's big kid envy," Long explained. 
"They see big kids getting on the buses 
every day and they want to see what 
they're like." 

Forty community groups and 
organizations were on hand to connect 
with families and get the word out 
about their exciting programs and 
services. 

"We want people to learn how 
important it is to have their kids 
prepared for school so they can succeed 
in school and in life," Long explained. 
"According to one study, 47 percent of 




Preschoolers tour trucks and buses with safety personnel while parents visit the 
Success by 6 Great Start Collaborative and learn about school readiness resources. 



children starting kindergarten aren't 
prepared for that level of learning, and 
many of them never catch up." 

A High Scope study followed two 
groups of kids for decades - one group 
had been properly prepared for school; 
the other group hadn't. The findings 
wemastounding. Kids who got off on 
the right foot in school were more likely 
to graduate from high school, get jobs, 
have healthy family relationships and 
succeed in many other aspects of life. 

"The trucks draw parents and children 
to the event, and they are happy to 
learn more about the educational 
possibilities available in Washtenaw 



County," Long said. 

Both public and private sector 
individuals participated in the event, 
donating their time and equipment for 
kids to explore. 

"We're so grateful to them for 
participating, and giving kids a chance 
to explore first-hand the vehicles they 
see driving on their streets every day," 
Long said. 

For more information about the 
Washtenaw County Success by 6 
Great Start Collaborative, visit: www, 
washtenawsuccessfryfrorg or call (734) 
934-8100. 





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Solutions on page 11 



rroundcove 

While Groundcover News is a nonprofit 
organization and newspaper vendors 
are considered contracted self- employers, 
we still have expectations of how vendors 
should conduct themselves while selling and 
representing the paper. 



The following list is our Vendor Code of 
Conduct, which every vendor reads 
and signs before receiving a badge and pa- 
pers. We request that if you discover 
a vendor violating any tenets of the Code, 
please contact us and provide as many details 
as possible. Our paper and our vendors 
should be posively impacting our County. 

All vendors must agree to the following code of 



mdorCode 

er News vendors, especially vendors who 
have been suspended or terminated. 
I agree to treat all customers, staff 
and other vendors respectfully I will 
not" hard sell," threaten, harass or pres- 
sure customers, staff; or other vend 
verbally or physically 
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I understand that I am not a legal 
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contracted worker responsible tor my 
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I understand that my badge is property 
of Groundcover News and will not 
deface it. 1 will present my badge when 






Groundcover News will be distributed 
aiion of $1J agree 

than a dollar or 



forai 

not to as 



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panhandle, including panhandling with 

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public buses, federal property or stores 
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from, another vendor. 1 will also abide by 
the Vendor corner policy. 



If you see any Groundcover News vendors 
not abiding by the code of conduct, please 
report the activity to: 
contact#groundcovernews.com 



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AGENCY SPOTLIGHT 



From homelessness in Ann Arbor to the Homeless World Cup in Brazil 



by Greg Hoffman, 
Groundcover Social Work Intern 

Playing on the U.S. national team for 
the Homeless World Cup left David 
Altherr with some special memories 
and a mission. His journey began in 
Washtenaw County through the Project 
Outreach Team (PORT) and its street 
soccer program (SSPORT). 

He first heard about the local SSPORT 
soccer team nearly three years ago at 
the PORT offices in Ann Arbor. Before 
his first practice, David, now in his fif- 
ties, had never played organized soccer. 
He gave it a try after continued encour- 
agement from the SSPORT coaches. 
Since then, David says he hasn t missed 
more than three or four practices. 

As a younger man, David was an avid 
baseball player, and he says that soc- 
cer really helped to fill the void created 
when he stopped playing baseball. Not 
only has it provided a means of promot- 
ing physical health through the exercise 
of playing, but it has also been a driv- 
ing force in helping David stay sober 
and turn his life around. The weekly 
practices give David something to look 
forward to each week, and he encour- 
ages others to share in the mental and 
physical benefits that soccer provides. 

"There's no pressure. Its a lot of fun. Just 
come out and join us," David tells them. 

To be eligible to travel to tournaments 
with the SSPORT team, players must 
first commit to sobriety for at least 
thirty days. Davids first travel opportu- 
nity with the SSPORT team came in the 
summer of 2010, when he and the team 




The 2010 Homeless World Cup was held at Rio de Janeiro in September. 



traveled to Washington, D.C. to com- 
pete for the USA Homeless Cup. David 
says that this first experience felt like 
being a superstar. Participants in the 
tournament were outfitted with special 
tournament clothing, equipment, and 
new shoes. 

Though the SSPORT team did not win 
the 2010 Street Soccer USA Cup, the 
team was awarded the tournament's 
Fair Play Award for demonstrating 
sportsmanship and positive attitudes 
on and off the field. While in D.C, 
David was interviewed by representa- 
tives from Street Soccer USA about 
what soccer meant to him, but he had 
little idea at the time that he had been 
identified as a candidate for the U.S. 
Mens National team. As the USA Cup 
came to a close, there was a parade and 
awards ceremony, which culminated 
with the selection of the U.S. National 
Team, and David was chosen to rep- 



resent the United States in the 2010 
Homeless World Cup in Brazil. 

The Homeless World Cup trip began 
with a three-day stop in New York. 
While there, David began practicing 
with the other players who had been 
selected for the US. Team. The high- 
light in New York was a four-on-four 
scrimmage with players from Major 
League Soccer s New York Red Bulls, 
the professional soccer team in New 
York. 

After New York, the team boarded a 
plane and headed for Rio De Janeiro, 
Brazil. 55 teams participated in the 
2010 Homeless World Cup; 43 mens 
teams and 12 women's teams. In all, 
more than 40 countries were repre- 
sented. The games were held on the 
edge of the white sand of Copacabana 
Beach from September 19 th to the 26 th . 
The U.S. Mens team performed admi- 



rably, finishing in 20 th place, and the 
U.S. Women's team earned an 1 1 th place 
finish. 

David recollects two experiences that 
really stick out from the trip, aside from 
the action on the field. The first was the 
breathtaking views from the 100-foot- 
tall Christ the Redeemer statue that 
looks out over the city of Rio. 

"You're up there in the foggy mists from 
the mountains, and you can see all the 
way down to the white sandy beaches," 
David recalled. 

The other experience that had a lasting 
impression on David was the oppor- 
tunity to attend an Alcoholics Anony- 
mous meeting with other players, 
including members of the Swedish and 
Finnish National teams. The meet- 
ing was facilitated by translators and 
when it closed, the participants each 
said their closing prayers in their native 
languages. 

"It was really a joy to be able to experi- 
ence something like that," David said. 

According to David, once someone 
is selected to the go to the Homeless 
World Cup, they become an ambassa- 
dor not only of the U.S. team, but also 
of the mission and goals of Homeless 
Soccer efforts worldwide. He lives up to 
this charge through his daily efforts to 
share the benefits of soccer with every- 
one he meets. 

"It doesn't matter who wins, because we 
all win because we are all on the same 
team. The whole idea is to fight home- 
lessness," David said. 



Arts at the homeless shelter 



by Anthony Hinkelman, contributor 
and Robert Salo, vendor 

The Imagine Community gathers every 
Tuesday at the Robert J. Delonis Shelter 
from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Its an eclectic 
cluster of the homeless, artists, young 
professionals and anyone else interested 
in starting off their week among 
friends. 

Tuesdays are open to any combination 
of instrumental jam sessions, movie 
showings, or arts and crafts. Whatever 
is scheduled, it generally results in 
laughter and friendships. Last Tuesday 
featured arts and crafts where beads, 
paint, paper and shirts, awaited to 
become someone's masterpiece. Some 
made flashy necklaces. Others designed 
shirts, usually with an "imagine 
community" theme. 



The events are a result of Imagines 
community building efforts, which 
arose from the Occupy Ann Arbor 
Movement. 



her talent for jewelry making after 
attending an event. She's since been 
selling her work 



"What we do is empower 

people to find their talents 

and do something they like 

doing." 



"We 

believe a 

community 

can be 

created 

through the 

experience 

of working together and discovering 

each other's talents," said Orian Zakai 

an Imagine Community member. 

"What we do is empower people to 

find their talents and do something 

they like doing, and through that we 

hope we help people to live." 

The events are having an impact. 
One such participant rediscovered 



True to Imagines purpose, a 
community has been created 
here, where everyone is and 



they join this collective fellowship. It's 
a creative opportunity to feel a part of 
others lives, if only for a day. 

Clearly, the Tuesday events tap into an 
unfulfilled need. It only seems to be 
growing with each passing week. 



feels welcomed. 
Many will walk 
in wearing 
their stress and 
tribulations, a 
result of untold 
hardships. All 
of them visibly 
shed them as 




www. ground co vernews . com 



THINK ABOUT IT 



Hung-up over a hang-up 

An Ann Arbor resident's recollections of a disturbing incident and lessons learned 




by Martin 
Stolzenberg 

Groundcover 
Contributor 



This is a story about a phone call that 
was never completed. It has continued 
to haunt me over the years. 

We were newly-weds living in a 
small, inexpensive apartment in 
Rriarwood, Queens, near the Van Wyck 
Expressway. One night at about 1 a.m., 
the phone woke me out of a sound 
sleep. I padded out to the hanging 
phone in the kitchenette. 

"Hello." 

An operator-type voice asked, "Is this 
Martin Stolzenberg?" 

"Yeah." 

*Will you take a collect person-to- 
person collect call from Stanley G. in 
Las Vegas?" 

Quick as a cat, I said, "No," and clicked 
the receiver. 

Back in our bedroom, my wife Gale 
groggily asked, "What is that about?" 

"It was a collect call from Stan G. in 
Vegas. I refused it." 

The rest of the night I tossed and 
turned, but said nothing further to Gale 
about the call and my reaction or lack 
of action. He was running through my 
thoughts. 

Stan G. was a boyhood friend who had 
fallen on hard times. His mother had let 
it be known through the grapevine that, 
"Stanley, like his father, has become an 
addictive gambler. If he calls looking for 
money, don t give it to him." 

That night I followed his moms advice, 
but inside I kept thinking, " Why did I 
do that?" While Stan and I had been 
tight through high school, we had 
drifted apart. The call surprised me 
because it was unexpected and late at 
night. I didn't know he was even aware 
of where I lived. It just caught me off- 
guard. 

Growing up, Stan was one of the kids 
who played basketball in the nearby 
park. In his early teens, was a nice, 
just about average player, shifty and 
clever, an okay shooter, but short and 
not too fast. He was also a nice kid, 
friendly and outgoing. We would joke 
around imitating famous players, taking 
ridiculous basketball shots and, when 
not playing ball in the winter, hang out 
at the local pool room. 

Before his junior year in high school, 
Stan just shot up. He was now stronger 
and faster, enhancing his other skills. 
He became one of the best players 



around the neighborhood. During his 
senior high school year, Stan went far 
beyond a good neighborhood player. 
He was now an elite All-City player. 
That was major because New York 
City was the basketball hot-bed of the 
country. So he was one of the best. But 
he was the same Stan, unaffected with 
a twinkle in his eye and a fast quip. A 
sweet guy. 

Stanley now added a girlfriend, a 
cute cheerleader/twirler at our high 
school, Lenore M. He was coveted by a 
southern university, a top-level NCAA 
basketball program. After high school 
graduation Stan was shipped off by that 
school to an upstate military school for 
more basketball polishing, before going 
south. 

Unfortunately, there he was a reserve, 
no longer a star. Things went south, 
in more ways than geography He left 
school under dubious circumstances. 
Rumors were he and another player 
were cheating on exams. Rather than 
go on probation, he left school, married 
Lenore and transferred to NYU where 
he also played ball for a year. Then he 
dropped out of school for good. 

Stan had a series of low-level jobs; he 
just couldn't find a place for himself. He 
and Lenore had a child, and then split 
up. After that, I heard nothing, until the 
aborted phone call. 

Why hadrit I taken the call and maybe 
sent him fifty bucks or so? 



It was easy to convince myself I was 
complying with his mother s wishes 
not to enable him. But I knew a part 
of me also didn't want to part with 
the money Gale was still in school. I 
wasn't making a lot, either. I further 
rationalized, "If I had to work everyday 
in my less than exciting job, why 
shouldn't he?" And, "If I gave him this 
money it might open me up to being 
hit-up again and again" 

So I hadn't taken the call. 

But then I thought, "Maybe he wants 
to get out of there, come home and get 
his life straightened out, and needs the 
bus fare? Or, "What if he owes someone 
money and they are threatening him 7 " 
Or, What if he is not feeling well and 
needs the money for medicine 7 ." 

There were other choices. I could 
have listened to him or even told the 
operator to call back in fifteen minutes, 
and thought it through with Gale. 
Didn't I owe Stanley that? By refusing 
the call I had cut off other options. I 
knew of no way to fix it after my hang- 
up. I'd cut woff a lifelong friend. 

After that night, I took the easy way 
out, dismissing the call from my 
thinking. In retrospect, it was just too 
painful. I was small in my own eyes. I 
didn't ask about Stanley to my friends, 
either. I really didn't want to know. 

Years later, I learned that he had died 
young of a coronary, wasted from 



gambling, drinking and smoking. 

Lately Stanley has often been popping 
up in my thoughts. Again, had I done 
the right thing? What had I learned 
from this "shoulda, coulda, woulda" 
moment? How had this night impacted 
my later decision-making? 

I slowly came to realize I made the 
wrong decision that long-ago night. You 
know why? If it was the right decision, 
it wouldn't have bothered me all these 
years. 

Most of what I have read on decision- 
making extol the virtues of instant 
reaction, going with your gut-instinct. 
But I have come to think that there are 
times to ask yourself first, "Am J about 
to do something that could make me 
feel ashamed, or hurt or have a negative 
impact on someone else?" 

Now I try harder to think twice about 
"shooting from the hip," making 
impetuous, snap judgments and 
decisions. There haven't been any more 
jarring turn-off incidents in my life 
after this one. Maybe I learned a lesson 
from that long ago night. 

There is that old adage, "Act in haste, 
repent at leisure" 

For me, it hasn't been leisurely. 




RA A U 
J I ft 



Religious Action for Affordable Housing 



Come learn about what local religious 

congregations are doing to address the need for 

affordable housing in Washtenaw County. 

RAAH's Annual Meeting 

Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012 

Time: 6:30 pm — refreshments 
7:00-8:00 pm — program 

Place: St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church 
2250 E. Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor 

Special Guest Speaker: Jennifer Hall, 
Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Housing Commission 

For more information visit RAAH.org 



Book review: Heart of a Native 



by Tom St Denrfis 

c. 2012 by iUniverse I Star Bluff 

Publishing 

by Andrew Nixon 
Groundcover Editor 

Jack Clay is a middle-aged man who, 
though Native American (specifically 
Lakota) by heritage, has been 
steeped all his adult life in the fast- 
paced, cutthroat culture of northern 
Michigan's lakeside real estate industry. 
The bumper-sticker on his outsized 
SUV reads, "He Who Dies with the 
Most Toys Wins!" - and he has mostly 
bought into this pathos, dutifully 
trading his life energy for the money, 
-material luxuries, and requisite debt 
load that have become measures of 
success in mainstream America. But 
as a series of personal blows shake up 
his world, Jacks faith in the path he has 
taken starts to founder. The doubts that 
arise have an inescapable momentum, 
propelling Jack on a journey of self- 
discovery that will fundamentally alter 
the course of his life. 

Urifolding with lively prose, Heart of 
a Native is Michigan author Tom St. 
Dennis's first novel, and it admirably 
conveys the author s concern for the 
state of the world, and his conviction 
that - in the post-epiphany words 
of the protagonist - traditional 
Native American values "can still 
bring incredible value to this manic 
world that has strayed so far from 
the teachings of the Creator and the 
rhythms of the natural world" 

St. Dennis is clearly hoping that readers 
will identify with Jack and be inspired 
by the protagonist s example to undergo 
a similar spiritual journey. In spite of 
his foibles - indeed, because of them 
- Jack is a likeable guy, misguided but 
well-intentioned. He has a sense of 




integrity, even if the aims he has been 
faithful to - scoring successes for his 
real estate firm, keeping up with the 
Joneses - have their limitations and, as 
Jack comes to see, their many "hidden 
costs." He works hard and is kind to 
others. This is why we can care about 
Jack when his carefully-crafted good 
life starts to break down, forcing him 
to face some hard existential questions. 
With dawning clarity, Jack realizes how 
"numb, betrayed, and totally alone" he 
is. He feels intuitively that he cant in 
good conscience return to his former 
ways, but he feels both trapped by his 
circumstances and addicted to the 
intoxicating effects of high-hog living. 

There is some of Jack Clay in all of us, - 
and to one degree or another, we all are 
on his journey. Like Jack at the novel's 
opening, so many of us in the modern 
world feel numb, betrayed, and alone. 
We sense that there must be something 
more to life than competing and 
consuming - but what, and how? Each 
of us must grapple with this question 
individually, but there is no denying 



that the enormous pressure and 
dizzying confusion of keeping up with 
the times is often an overwhelming 
experience. To paraphrase ecological 
psychologist Chellis Glendinning, 
no one grows up in modern society 
without being traumatized by it. 



Jack is fortunate to have his Lakota 
heritage to turn to for guidance and 
support through his predicament. 
His surviving grandfather, Ed - who 
helped to raise Jack - is a tribal elder 
and once again takes his wayward 
grandson under his steady wing, 
helping Jack to connect the dots 
between the two cultures 
he occupies. Under Ed's 
wise tutelage, Jack is able to 
reconnect with the Teachings 
of the Seven Grandfathers, 
which relate to the virtues of 
wisdom, love, respect, bravery, 
honesty, humility, and truth. 
When he does, he is able to see 
a viable way through the "white 
man's dilemma" of slavery to 
work and estrangement from 
community and from Mother 
Nature. 



St. Dennis's voice has clarity, 
conviction, and, most 
importantly, compassion 
- while the reader is 
unmistakably nudged in the 
direction of dismay over the 
mess of modernity, care is taken 
not to encourage downright 
disdain for any individual 
involved in helping to create 
and sustain the debacle. Clearly 
for St. Dennis, we are all in this 
together; even the most obtuse 
of characters in the book, a 
cocky fishing guide named Eric, 
is drawn in a way that elicits our 
sympathy. 

Heart of a Native is a short, 
easy read that is appropriate for 



young adults and beyond, and is sure 
to be a source of hopeful inspiration for 
anyone beginning to question the status 
quo and curious about more spiritually 
fulfilling and environmentally 
sustainable alternatives. 

Contact your local library or favorite 
locally-owned bookstore to inquire 
about obtaining a copy, or visit the 
official website to order the book 
online: 

http://authortjsaint.authorsxpress. 
com/2012/01/18/heart-of-a-native 



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STREET BUZZ 



The second annual Water Hill Music Festival 




Ann Arbor residents flocked to the Water Hill neighborhood Sunday May 5, to enjoy dozens of 
area musicians. Building on last year's success, the festival drew hundreds of visitors for a block- 
party that lasted most of the day. (Counter-clockwise starting below) Rootstand; Dick Siegel and 
band; Maria CamareUi & Mark Vondrak. Images by Lee Alexander & Ben Colman 





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Front cover image, John Madison and Friends, 
by Ben Colman 



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Package Pricing 



Size 


Black and White 


Color 


Business card 


$49.95 


$65.95 


1/8 


$89.95 


$129.95 


1/6 


$129.95 


$165.95 


1/4 


$159.95 


$215.95 


1/2 


$299.95 


$399.95 


Full Page 


$495.95 


$669,95 



Approx. Size 

2 X 3.5 

2.5 X 6.5 or 5 X 3.25 

4.5 X 5.5 

5X6.5 

5 X 14 or 6.5 X 10 

10X14 



Three Months/Three Issues: 15% off 
Six Months/Six Issues: 25% off 
Full Year/Twelve Issues: 35% off 
Additional 20% off ads with coupons